Tao te Ching
From the translation
D.C. Lau, 1963
(Available from Penguin Books)
Which I am informed by
"Those that Know"
is pronounced "Dau" not "Tau"
And is pronounced "Lao Tsoo" not "Lao Tsay"
The way that can be spoken of
Is not the constant way;
The name that can be named
Is not the constant name.
The nameless was the beginning of heaven and
the named was the mother of the myriad creatures.
Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to
observe its secrets;
But always allow yourself to have desires in order
to observe its mainifestations.
These two are the same
But diversge in name as they issue forth.
Being the same they are called mysteries,
Mystery upon mystery --
The gateway of the manifold secrets.
The whole world recognizes the beautiful as the
beautiful, yet this only the ugly;
the whole world recognizes the good as the
good, yet this is only the bad.
Thus Something and Nothing produce each other;
The difficult and the easy complement each other;
The long and the shrot off-set each other;
The high and the low incline towards each other;
Note and sound harmonize with each other;
Before and after follow each other.
Therefore the sage keeps to the deed that consists
of taking no action and practices the teaching that
uses no words.
The myriad creatures rise from it yet it claims no
It gives them life yet claims no possession;
It beneifits them yet exacts no gratitude;
It accomplishes its task yet lays claim to no merit.
It is because it lays claim to no merit
That its merit never deserts it.
Not to honor men of worth will keep the people
from contention; not to value goods which are hard
to come by will keep them from theft; not to display
what is desirable will keep them from being unsettled
Therefore in governing the people, the sage empties
their minds but fills their bellies, weakens their wills
but strengthen their bones. He always keeps them
innocent of knowledge and free from desire, and
ensures that the clever never dare to act.
Do that which consists in taking no action, and
order will prevail.
The way is empty, yet use will not drain it.
Deep, it is like the ancestor of the myriad creatures.
Blunt the sharpness;
Untangle the knots;
Soften the glare;
Let your wheels move only along old ruts.
Darkly visible, it only seems as if it were there.
I know not whose son it is.
It images the forefather of God.
(and the last entry)
Truthful words are not beautiful; beautiful words
are not truthful. Good words are not persuasive;
persuasive words are not good. He who knows has
no wide learning; he who has wide learning does not
The sage does not hoard.
Having bestowed all he has on others, he has yet
Having given all he has to others, he is richer still.
The way of heaven benefits and does not harm; the
way of the sage is bountiful and does not contend.
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